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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France

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JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE
Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France
page 59



A.D. 1249.3 SLAUGHTER OF THE SARACENS, 401 The marshal, seeing this, cried ont to his men-at-arms,— " Now, companions, attack them, in tbe name of God ! for I cannot longer suffer thus." He instantly stuck spurs into his horse, and charged the Saracens, followed by the whole army. The horses of the Turks were worn down and tired, while ours were fresh and hearty, which caused their misfortune ; for I have since beard that not one escaped being slain or drowned in the sea. It is proper that I say something here of tbe river which runs through Egypt, and which comes from the terrestrial paradise; for such things should be known to those who are desirous of understanding the subject I am writing on. This river differs from all others, for the more brooks fall into a large river, the more it is divided into small streamlets, and spread over a country ; but this river has not such aids, and seems always the same. When arrived in Egypt, it spreads its waters over the country. About the period of St. Remy s day, it expands itself into seven branches, and thence flows over the plains. When the waters are retired, the labourers appear, and till the ground with ploughs without wheels, and then sow wheat, barley, rice, and cummin, which succeed so well that it is not possible to have finer crops. No one can say whence this annual increase of water comes, except from God's mercy. Were it not to happen, Egypt would produce nothing, from the very great heat of that coun try ; for it is near to the rising sun, and it scarcely ever rains but at very long intervals. This river is quite muddy, from the crowds of people of that and other countries who, towards evening, come thither to eeek water to drink. They put into their vessels which hold it four almonds or four beans, which they shake well, and on the morrow it is wondrous clear and fit to drink. When this river enters Egypt, there are expert persons, accustomed to the business, who may be called the fishermen of this stream, and who in the evenings cast their nets into the water, and in the mornings frequently find many spices in them, which they sell into these countries dearly, and by weight ; such as cinna mon, ginger, rhubarb, cloves, lignum-aloes, and other good things. It is the report of the country, that they come from the terrestrial paradise, and that the wind blows them down from these fine trees, as it does in our forests the old dry 2D


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